Dan Piepenbring

All articles by this author

The Most Exciting Time in the History of the World to Be Alive

The Most Exciting Time in the History of the World to Be Alive

If Americans clamor for a return to boring and courteous politics, the 1996 Gore–Kemp debate offers a blueprint

They were living in an era that prized blithe superficiality. For the second straight month, the Billboard Hot 100 was dominated by a song about a woman named Macarena who cheats on her boyfriend after he’s conscripted; delegates at that summer’s DNC had famously danced to it. The reigning box-office champ was The First Wives Club, in which three well-heeled divorcées vie for the fortunes of their adulterous ex-husbands. “It’s the ’90s,” says Goldie Hawn’s character, “plastic surgery is like good grooming!” (Characters in the ’90s loved to talk about how they were living in the ’90s, the ultimate decade.)